Israel to expand West Bank settlement after girl's death

Israeli-American girl, 13, fatally stabbed in West Bank
israeli american girl stabbed hallel ariel john kirby sot_00000924


    Israeli-American girl, 13, fatally stabbed in West Bank


Israeli-American girl, 13, fatally stabbed in West Bank 00:53

Story highlights

  • The Prime Minister will allow more houses in the Kiryat Arba settlement
  • A settlement watch group condemns the expansion

(CNN)Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to allow the expansion of a West Bank settlement in the wake of the stabbing death of a 13-year-old Israeli-American girl, an Israeli official told CNN Sunday.

Hallel Yaffa Ariel was sleeping when a Palestinian teenager entered her house in Kiryat Arba, a settlement near Hebron, and killed her Thursday. He was shot to death in the home by settlement security guards, authorities said.
    Hallel Ariel
    "It was decided yesterday to allow the building of 42 units in Kiryat Arba, in the neighborhood close to the house in which the attack took place," an Israeli official said. "It was decided to set up a graveyard for the bodies of terrorists."
    Netanyahu and the Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman made the decision Saturday after visiting mourners in Kiryat Arba, the official said.
    Peace Now, an Israeli organization that tracks expansion of settlements, immediately rebuked Israel's decision as counterproductive to the peace process and influenced by domestic politics.
    "There is no justification for violence, and the recent deadly attacks on Israelis must be condemned in the strongest possible terms, but settlement construction in the heart of the future of the Palestinian state is endangering both the possibility for peace and two states and the security of Israeli citizens," the organization said in a statement.
    "Netanyahu and Lieberman act based on electoral considerations and national pride rather than on the strategic interest of Israel."
    The units were approved 18 months ago, but construction was frozen until Netanyahu's decision, according to local media. Many in the international community consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal, including the United Nations.
    "We will submit a special plan for Kiryat Arba at the next cabinet meeting; and my directive to ministers, which is to combine measures in all ministries to help communities in Judea and Samaria," Netanyahu said at Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting, using an Israeli term for the West Bank.
    The Israeli government also sent two additional battalions into the West Bank and closed off Hebron and its surroundings.
    Ariel was a student in 8th grade. Hundreds attended her funeral Thursday evening in Hebron, a city with long-standing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.
    "Just like any teenager on summer holiday, my daughter was asleep, calm, relaxed," her mother, Rena Ariel, told Israel's Channel 2 last week. "A terrorist murderer came and murdered her in her bed."
    The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the attacker as Mohammed Tarayra, 17, from Bani Naim, a village east of Hebron.
    "The horrifying murder of a young girl in her bed underscores the bloodlust and inhumanity of the incitement-driven terrorists that we are facing," Netanyahu said in a prepared statement last week. "The entire nation deeply identifies with the family's pain and declares to the murderers: You will not break us. We will continue to take strong and determined action against terrorism everywhere and at all times."
    Netanyahu said last week he would revoke work permits for members of Tarayra's family and has started the process of seeking approval to demolish the attacker's family's home, a known and controversial practice by Israeli authorities.